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Capitalism is one of the main topics of social theory. For the classics, the nature and future prospects of capitalism were matters of greatest concern. Social theory developed as a critique of capitalism or as a refutation of this critique in the form of academic sociology.

Capitalism is a concept of motion that expresses the dynamic of the modern economy: its tendency of unlimited growth, rapid increase, and incessant mobility and its society-shaping drive of melting all that is solid into the air. The concept expresses at the same time the tensions and conflicts within this motion. As counterconcept of socialism, it is an often-used weapon in political polemics. For some, it is therefore doubtful whether the term possesses sufficient scientific dignity. The word emerged late, ...

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